Film trailers have become an artform in themselves, with slick editing, dramatic music and flashy 3D graphics, along with a barrage of impressive imagery and a complete retelling of all major plot points. But the power of a good film trailer should not be underestimated, as a successful trailer will make you really want to watch the film and form a very important part of a marketing strategy.
Of course you don't want to fall into the trap of creating a trailer full of cliches, although there are times when this can be very entertaining -check out the fantastic analysis of trailer techniques in the brilliant trailer for The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, with voice over by England's national treasure, Stephen Fry:
When making your own trailer there are some important factors that are good to remember:
- A "teaser" is normally shorter than a trailer - and only teases you with limited information/imagery from the film. These are often released earlier in production, before the final edit is complete.
- Standard trailers are almost always about 2 and half minutes in length.
- Send the right message -don't deceive you audiences unintentionally -if it is an action film show lots of action, if it's a romance, romance!
- Use of appropriate music is important -there are some great orchestral trailer tracks you can acquire, or use band music to set a different feel. Of course clear whatever music you use.
- Make sure the editing is as slick and professional as possible, with good grading and sound quality -people will judge the quality of the entire film based on what they see in your trailer.
- Unless you intend on releasing a "red band" trailer keep everything PG.
- Voice over can add an extra dimension, but don't fall into the trap of thinking you need a deep, booming trailer voice... although you can get these done for you if you think it will work (check this guy out: http://www.voiceoverguy.co.uk/)
- Add taglines, graphics, festival information or reviews if possible or appropriate.
- It is good to finish with some end credits (cast/crew), as seen on the film poster.
- The final image you show in the trailer might be the one people remember the most -make sure it is a good one, and makes you want to see what happens next.
- Watch lots of other trailers to get familiar with what works best. Here's a good place: http://www.davestrailerpage.co.uk
- Release HD (1080p and 720p) versions of your trailers.
For Ambleton Delight we created a teaser and two trailers. Check them out below (they are all available in HD, just push play, change 360p to 720p and click the full screen button):
Teaser/trailer 1 (before the main production edit had begun):
Trailer 2 (made for the festival circuit):
Trailer 3 (final, official trailer):